To save money on newsprint and late press runs, Gannett told its newspapers not to bother printing results and to direct the curious online. Here’s how that played out.
This story was originally published by Nieman Lab and appears here with its permission
Big night! The U.S. midterm elections yesterday mostly went according to expectations: Democrats retook the House of Representatives, Republicans kept (and grew) their control of the Senate, and a variety of governor’s races went a variety of ways.
Back when I was a kid, the best source of information on a big slate of elections was the next day’s newspaper, which would be stuffed full of results, election-site vox pops, color from watch parties, and photos of politicians both ecstatic and deflated. But as our Ken Doctor reported last week, America’s largest newspaper chain, Gannett, decided to do things differently this year. Rather than push back printing deadlines to accommodate the evening’s tallies, Gannett papers were to report…no results. “Go to our website” was the mantra. “It’s updated more than once a day, ya know”:
When long-time readers of the Des Moines Register, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, or Fort Myers News-Press open up their papers Wednesday morning, they’ll see hardly anything in the way of results. They may see stories on voter turnout totals or “wrap-ups on the voting scene” or “a look ahead to what readers can expect in the days ahead.” Even on Thursday, when nearly all vote totals should be in, don’t expect to see newsprint used when cheaper pixels can do the job; the complete election results will be online, Amalie Nash, executive editor for local news at Gannett’s USA Today Network, told me Wednesday.
It’s a move both to push readers online and to reduce costs. The cost savings come in and around print production.
It looks pretty spare — but it appears some Gannett papers did get dispensation to give their high-price-paying print readers a little late-breaking detail.
In Indianapolis, the Star let readers know the “Opportunity to vote proves worth the wait.” Hopefully, the results proved worth waiting for too. Senate candidates Mike Braun and Joe Donnelly were “glad to see voters coming out in droves” — though in the end, only Braun was happy about it.
Other cities with where Gannett seems to have printed no results: Burlington, Vermont (“HAVING THEIR SAY”):
Greenville, South Carolina (“Heavy voter turnout in Greenville County”):
Cincinnati, Ohio (“Long lines, glitches,” though a Cincinnati–Ohio State basketball game is the centerpiece, not Richard Cordray–Mike DeWine):
Continue reading this story on Nieman Lab‘s website, where it was originally published.